Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
ROYAL VIBES from the all-conquering stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is fancied to win the restricted allowance feature over 1820 metres for the Royal Dad Trophy at Caymanas Park today, despite the presence of another highly fancied runner in DOC HOLIDAY.
Of the seven runners declared, DaCosta will saddle three, but ROYAL VIBES is definitely the most appealing. The free-running three-year-old colt, who was third to stable-companion PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the June 9 derby, last won over this trip on July 24, slamming subsequent winner PRINCESS SHANEIL by all of 11 lengths.
That PRINCESS SHANEIL has improved beyond recognition since, should make ROYAL VIBES even more alert, but judging from his preparation, he will not go down easily from the convenient mark of 51.0kg and in-form Dick Cardenas aboard.
Since his last win, ROYAL VIBES has performed creditably in two races, firstly when running NATURALLY EVIL to a length over a mile on August 14 and coming back to finish third to stable companion RUM PUNCH and PRINCESS SHANEIL over 1500 metres on October 5.
He looked razor sharp at exercise last Sunday morning when galloping 51/2 furlongs in a brisk 1:06.2 by 1:00.1 and despite the strong claims of DOC HOLIDAY under champion jockey Dane Nelson and, of course, PRINCESS SHANIEL with Shane Ellis aboard, the choice has to be ROYAL VIBES.
DOC HOLIDAY, the mount of champion jockey Dane Nelson, looks his obvious danger in the seven-strong field. Having missed the classics when proving difficult to train, DOC HOLIDAY has settled down in the second half of the season. He ran on strongly to win over 1200 metres with Nelson aboard on July 27 in restricted company. And last time out, he finished two lengths third (closing rapidly) to American-bred PETE'SWILDONE in a fast-run 1300 metre race.
Trainer Richard Azan has DOC HOLIDAY in good nick and with Nelson riding with a lot of confidence in a bid to retain his title, will only go down fighting from the handy mark of 53.0kg. However, he could find giving 2.0kg to a fit ROYAL VIBES in the type of race which favours free-running horses, his undoing.
Other firm fancies on the 11-race programme are MISS JUANITA in the opening race for maiden two-year-olds, WHERE DEM BOYS to stave off WESTERN ROSE in the fifth, SAHARA in the seventh and FIRST 'K' BOY in the eighth.